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Mental Health Counseling

Secondary Education & School Leadership | Programs | M.A. Urban Education

Mental Health Counseling Concentration

Mental Health Counseling (Classes are offered at the main campus and satellite campuses)
This program is designed for students interested in mental health counseling. Teacher certification is not required, applicable or available. Refer to the Graduate School for application deadlines for fall, spring and summer admissions.

Program Overview

A master’s degree in counseling from Norfolk State University’s Mental Health Counseling Program is intended to prepare individuals for employment as counselors in clinical mental health counseling or college counseling settings. The program provides master’s level students with the necessary information and skills required to carry out duties unique to the counseling profession.

The master’s program secondary education and school leadership accepted its first master’s level students in 1997. The program currently adheres to the Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs guidelines with anticipation of full accreditation by the CACREP 2023 deadline.

The program leading to the master’s degree with a concentration in mental health counseling consists of a minimum of 60 semester credits beyond an undergraduate degree, including a clinical practicum and an internship. If the counseling program changes the curriculum while students are completing the program, students may choose to follow their original curriculum contained in the handbook and graduate catalog from the year that the student (began the program) matriculated or the student may change to follow the new curriculum as outlined in the latest handbook and graduate catalog. The curriculum may not be combined, a choice of handbook and catalog is required, and students may not switch programs once a counseling track has been selected. All students are required to follow any non-curriculum policy changes implemented.

Norfolk State University’s Mental Health Counseling Program is designed to professionally train and prepare professional counselors in the specialty of clinical mental health counseling. The Mental Health Counseling Program prepares students for careers in the following community agencies:

  • community service boards
  • substance abuse centers
  • group homes
  • residential facilities
  • social service agencies
  • juvenile detention centers
  • rehabilitation facilities
  • court service units
  • prevention programs
  • public/private community agencies


Licensure Requirements:

While requirements for licensure vary by state, program participants must complete all (60-credit CACREP) coursework, two-part internship experiences (600hrs). Post-graduation to become fully licensed program completers must pass the National Counseling Exam (NCE) or the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Exam (NCMHE) and complete an additional 2000 to 4000 post-graduate supervised hours depending on the state to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). Program completers seeking additional state-specific qualifications may need to research the Licensed Professional Counseling requirements for that state.

Job Outlook and Salary:

· The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an 18% job growth for Mental Health Counselors from 2022 to 2032 [BLS Mental Health Counselors ON Bureau of Labor Statistics (.gov)]. This is faster than average growth for all occupations.

· The nationwide median annual salary for Mental Health Counselors is $49,700.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Program Objectives

The program has specific objectives, which are as follows:

  1. Prepare candidates to be counselors that are dedicated to the enhancement of human development throughout the life span.
  2. Extend and enrich the candidate’s knowledge base by providing opportunities to enhance proficiency in critical/analytical thinking, oral/written communication skills, systematic problem solving, and ethical and legal decision-making.
  3. Prepare candidates to be professionals with broad counseling competencies that will be used to assist in the growth and development of each individual.
  4. Provide candidates with an education that challenges their intellect and prepares them to assume productive leadership roles in community agencies.
  5. Provide dynamic academic programming and practical training that integrates instruction, research, and public service with the intent of developing competent, ethically guided, empathic professional counselors.
  6. To provide studies that build on and enhance the education students received in their master’s level CACREP aligned degree programs.
  7. To provide studies that build a technical foundation for the understanding of counseling theories and principles in practice of counseling, career development, group work, family systems, and consultation.
  8. To allow students access to all program information including program policies, admission and disciplinary action which may assist students in making informed choices concerning program-based decisions that may affect their professional lives.
  9. To engage students in the theories and practices of counselor supervision, pedagogy relevant to multicultural issues and competencies, including the counselor as a change agent in advocacy and treatment planning; design, understanding methods of quantitative and qualitative research; and ethical and legal considerations in counselor education and supervision.
  10. To provide workshops, seminars, and other scholarly activities that directly enhance the personal and professional development of students.
  11. To provide studies that prepare graduates from the program for leadership roles in school counseling, mental health counseling and any related activities that include but are not limited to research, supervision, and practice.
  12. To provide practicum and internship experiences at the master’s level that give students supervised counseling experience in the counseling profession.
  13. To provide studies that build an ethical and multicultural framework in which to assist students in making ethically sound decisions in the counseling profession.
  14. To recruit quality students in so much as their presence has a notable impact upon the program's educational processes and its presence in community mental health settings.
  15. To evaluate students at transition points throughout their matriculation of the program at each level in certain courses. (COED 622, 645, 650 and UED 606).

The program has been developed utilizing a learning-outcomes base that requires candidates to master specified knowledge, skills, and abilities. The program is life-skills oriented and candidates are committed to the development of the highest educational and quality of life potential of all their clients. Candidates are expected to maintain a high level of competence, ethics, and integrity while exercising objective professional judgment in the practice of their profession.

In order to prepare effective counselors to work in community agencies, course work and related counseling field experiences emphasize human growth and development; counseling theory and techniques for individuals and groups; career development with components in educational and occupational information; standardized testing in the areas of aptitude, interest, achievement, and career; professional rights and responsibilities; research and evaluation techniques, and organization and administration of counseling programs.